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A Christmas Pageant

April 8, 2014

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The Christmas pageant at the Joy School preschool co-op was a big to-do.  We had a Mary to be Mary and a host of other small ones filling out all the parts.  I was not a part of this group, it was my little sister’s class.  Little sisters, little brothers, none of them interesting to me. I remember much of their excitement revolved around being allowed to wear bathrobes in public.

The star of this Christmas production, in my eyes at least, is wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in Mary’s arms.  That is my prized and beloved baby doll, Susie.

Susie the Effanbee doll, started out as Baby, then Judy, then I finally settled on Susie after, so the story goes, a brief evening as Taco Bell.  Her eyes blinked closed when she was in her bed and flipped wide open when she was upright.  She smelled like the best sort of plastic. A smell that reminded me of my grandparents’ house. I loved that doll. As far as I was concerned there was no one in the world better qualified to play Baby Jesus than my own Baby Susie.

Susie had an amazing feature – you could squeeze her and she would cry.  Some little squeaker inside emitted a strange plastic-y sound through a small circle of holes in her back.  I’m sure the idea was to squeeze her body, but my hands weren’t big or strong enough for that so I always squished the top of her hollow head in to achieve the same result.

I brought Susie in for show and tell in kindergarten.  It was terribly exciting to talk to everyone about my precious doll. On my way out, my teacher threw out a remark that might have been meant to make a connection or be funny, but it came off all wrong.  “If I squeezed your head like that, would you cry too?”

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